Whole Earth Provision Co. presented a check for $30,000 to benefit Texas State Parks at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting today. The donation came from a month-long in-store promotion as well as proceeds from the Banff Mountain Film Festival, which was held in Austin in mid-April.
The in-store donation effort took place for the entire month of April in the company's eight stores in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. Whole Earth purchased $5 gift cards from Texas State Parks to give to every customer who donated $20. They actively requested donations from their customers and promoted the effort with signage in stores, post cards, press releases, and through social media. The in-store effort brought in more than $20,000, which was a record for Whole Earth.
"The public and our customers have been very enthusiastic in joining us in supporting Texas State Parks," said Jack Jones, Founder and President of Whole Earth Provision Company. "This is the largest response and the most money we have ever raised in a non-profit fund raising campaign and we had a lot of fun doing it. Texas State Parks belong to us all and we are now eagerly planning future support campaigns for OUR parks."
Whole Earth, a store devoted to adventure, travel, and fun, approached TPWD about the promotion after hearing about the fundraising campaign the department launched in December to help close a state parks budget shortfall. The shortfall was caused by last year's devastating wildfires, record drought and triple-digit heat.
"The outpouring of support from Texans and Texas businesses has been gratifying," said Brent Leisure, TPWD State Parks Director. "Whole Earth Provision Company has been a great partner to us and we look forward to working with them in the future to continue supporting our parks."
Other businesses have also made donations or helped raise funds for Texas state parks, including REI, Toyota, La Quinta Inns and Suites, Geico, and Crestview RV. Thanks to these businesses, and the generous donations of private individuals and foundations, close to $1.7 million of the $4.6 million needed to close the gap has already been raised.
With recent rains bringing greatly improved conditions to most of the state, one of the best ways to help state parks is by visiting them, since about 50 percent of the park system operating budget comes directly from visitor fees. There are many state parks located near major metro areas, including 12 within an hour's drive of Austin, 9 within an hour's drive of San Antonio, 8 parks less than an hour away from folks living in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and 7 about an hour away from those living in the Houston area.
State parks offer an affordable way to spend time with family and friends, and children 12 and under are admitted free. The Texas State Park Pass is a great value at $70, providing free entry to state parks for a year for everyone in a pass holder's vehicle. The pass is also available at a discount for senior citizens.
For more information about visiting Texas State Parks, or to make a donation online, visit www.texasstateparks.org—courtesy TPWD